PS Audio Stellar Phono Preamp

Who's going to be the first here to buy...or try before you buy?
https://www.psaudio.com/products/stellar-phono-preamplifier/#tab-description
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"Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon

Comments

  • These do look interesting, but I’m all set in the phono department... for now. But I am a little surprised reviews haven’t started popping up yet.
    Analog: MoFi MasterTracker > MoFi UltraDeck > Sutherland 20/20
    Digital: Cambridge CXC / Streaming > Cambridge CXN v2
    MastersounD Dueventi > Usher T-515 or Arcam rHead > Hifiman HE4XX
    Discogs
  • EmlynEmlyn Posts: 2,618
    PS Audio uses beta testers through their forum members. There are some user reviews on their forum that can be seen in the Reviews tab for the link above in the first post.

    Seems to be quite positively reviewed so far with comparisons to older products in a similar price range including prior PS Audio phono preamps that I have and the Parasound Halo offerings. The retail price seems a bit high to me for what it is compared to what else is out there, but the trade in option would bring it down to something more in line with the competition.

    Looks like a solid option.
    1. Polk LSiM707, 704C, 703; Dual SVS SB2000 subwoofers; Marantz SR7011 receiver; Parasound A31 amp; Oppo 205; Sony 65" 4K TV; FIOS; PS Audio Power Plant Premier; MIT S2 cables
    2. JM Labs Electra 920.1; Sonic Frontiers Line 3 Preamp; Classe Model 25 amp; Sony HAP-Z1ES; Oppo 105D; Music Hall MMF7 and Acoustech phono pre; PS Audio Power Director; MIT S1 Cables
    3. Polk LSiM703; Parasound JC2BP and A23; Sony 48" 4K TV; Wyred4Sound DAC 2; Oppo 203; Squeezebox Touch; MIT S3 cables
  • Are you sure that you got the solution. If not then you must visit this and get free stuff.
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,468
    Thanks spammer, but I'll pass.

    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • pitdogg2pitdogg2 Posts: 16,692
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,468
    This is happening.

    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • CH46ECH46E Posts: 2,154
    Nice stack man!
  • voltzvoltz Posts: 5,423
    jdjohn wrote: »
    Added it to the stack today.
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    So far, I can definitely say...it works :p

    one of the sweetest STACKS I every seen ;) And in my 58 years I've seen several wonderful stacks before! just saying!!! B)
    2 ch- Polk CRS+ * Vincent SA-31MK Preamp * Vincent Sp-331 Amp * Marantz SA8005 SACD * Project Xperience Classic TT * Sumiko Blue Point #2 MC cartridge

    HT - Polk 703's * NAD T-758 * Adcom 5503 * Oppo 103 * Samsung 60" series 8 LCD
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,468
    Thanks guys! After some serious listening, I'll post some type of review. But, I really need to use the balanced/XLR connections in order to see what this unit can REALLY do.

    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • Mike ReeterMike Reeter Posts: 3,932
    I've been reading some very good comments on this Preamp, I'm sure it has plenty of Synergy with your gear!
    SDA SRS 2.3TL's/SDA SRS 3.1TL's/SDA CRS+4.1TL's and some other stuff
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,468
    edited June 20
    @BlueBirdMusic asked for an update about this piece in another thread, so I'll share a few thoughts now that I've spent some time with it. My reference phono preamp was a Rogue Audio Triton, which I love. I bet the Triton II is even better.

    The PSA Stellar Phono Preamp has lots of nice features. The simple feature of balanced/XLR outputs makes a big difference for me compared to the Triton. Even though the cable run is very short between my phono-pre and line-pre, I like having the added shielding of XLR. There is a fairly strong FM transmitter within 4 miles of my house, so I need all the shielding help I can get. Of course the Stellar has unbalanced/RCA outputs as well. On the input side, there are two: an MM, and an MC. So, a user could have one turntable/tonearm set-up with an MM cart, and a second table/arm sporting an MC, both going into the Stellar. I'm not there, but the feature could be very handy for someone running two turntables (or one tt with two tonearms)...just sayin.

    Next thing to discuss is settings/adjustments. There are plenty of different gain settings. MM and MC both have three different/separate gain settings, so three gain settings for each input choice - enough to please most people. For MC load settings, there are several options. For MM...not so much. MM is 47K load at 100pF...that's it. Luckily, 100pF is pretty low, which is my preference since I have several Audio Technica MM carts. Shure cartridges, in particular, like a much higher capacitance setting, so there's that to consider. MC load options are better: three pre-sets at 60/100/200 ohms, plus the 'Custom' setting. Btw, the remote allows for easy switching between settings. When the 'Custom' setting is chosen, it loads based on a pair (left and right) of dial settings on the back on the preamp. The dials go from 1ohm to 1Kohms. This can be quite handy if you have a very low-output MC cart that needs less than the lowest preset of 60ohms. For example, tonight I am using a Klipsh/Zenn MCZ-2 that has <5ohm DC resistance in the coils, so needs a VERY low impedance load.

    As far as the sound, I think it is exceptional. Reading other reviews before making your own determination is always risky, but I confess to doing so. In my research of online reviews, I kept reading (generally) about a hump in the upper mids, so that was stuck in my head. After listening myself, I tend to agree. Having said that, I think we should all remember that most of the audible spectrum exists in the upper mids with vocals and instruments, so any said 'hump' in that range tends to sound more simply like extra retrieval of detail...which is a good thing. I'm hearing intricacies never noticed before. There is musicality in this extra layer - not clinical or analytical. Highs are strong, but smooth, with no strident or harsh sound. Lower frequencies are peppy and punchy. Naturally, cartridge selection will influence the sound greatly...especially in the lows.

    The noise floor is more like a basement with this unit...extremely quiet. Maybe it's the XLR connection...maybe it's synergy with the PSA power plant. At any rate, it is translating to quicker/stronger attack, and longer decay (esp. cymbals). Separation around instruments/vocals is increased as well. Transients are a non-issue with this preamp...just bring it.

    In summary, this phono preamp sounds very nice - my best thus far - and has loads of settings options, particular for MC cartridges. The remote control allows for easy switching/experimentation between gain and loading options, and that feature should not be discounted for when you want to dial-in things.

    EDIT: I should probably add that I hear more depth with the Stellar preamp. It is more obvious when an instrument is meant to be heard in the background.
    Post edited by jdjohn on

    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
  • joecoulsonjoecoulson Posts: 4,538
    Great stuff Jody. Congrats brother.
    Auralic Vega G1/Rega TT - Parasound P6 - PS Audio M700x2 - Elac Adante AS-61 - AQ Niagara 5000 - SVS SB16u

    HT - Panasonic BDP/Tivo Bolt - Marantz SR5013 - Def tech C and In ceiling - Sony XBR 75"
  • BlueBirdMusicBlueBirdMusic Registered User Posts: 1,167
    Jody, I appreciate the update.
  • MilitoMilito Posts: 976
    Congrats on your new phono preamp.
    Yamaha RX-A2070, Music Hall A70.2 integrated amp, B&K 4420 Reference, Bluesound NODE 2i, HSU VTF-2 MK5, LSiM705, LSiM704, Technics PD867, Douglas Connection Alpha 12AWG OCC Speaker Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha Analog Interconnect Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 11 OCC Custom Power Cable, Cullen Gold Power Cable, Signal Power Cables, Furman PL-8C 15 Power Conditioner, Fluance RT85, Parasound Zphono USB Phono Preamp, Sony 65" 900F, Sony UBP-X700, Fios.
  • jdjohnjdjohn Posts: 1,468
    Thanks, guys. I'd say there's about a 5% improvement in having true balanced connections, and another 5% in pure performance compared to the Rogue Triton. Having said that, the Triton has multiple MM capacitance settings (including a -0- setting), and it is also has 75Kohm and 100Kohm settings in case such loads are needed beyond the standard 47Kohm. The Triton is still a very fine phono preamp in my book.

    At some point, I'll try running an MC via SUT into the Stellar.

    "Sometimes I do what I want to do. The rest of the time, I do what I have to." - Cicero, in Gladiator
    Regarding collectibles: "It's not who gets it. It's who gets stuck with it." - Jimmy Fallon
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